VIDEO GAME WATCHING ON YOUTUBE, SPORTS (aka A Small Apology)
I think I owe part of the video games community an apology. Or gaming or gamers? community-? Look, I'm born-and-raised in Las Vegas, so the word "gaming" never feels right to me. That's always gonna mean, "How much did we make at baccarat this month?" to me. So, "Video Gaming Community" is what I'm gonna go with, but yeah, I can't find exactly where I've said it in the past on my blog, but I'm sure on several occasions that I've mentioned that I don't really understand the appeal of watching other people play video games. I know E-Sports is a big thing now, and in some parts of the world has been for years; I'm honestly never gonna fully get this. Watching E-sports, not participating. I can totally understand why people would want to compete, but it's like when you play soccer, and you get up in the game and break your collarbone when you get pushed in the back after stealing the ball from them while running at full speed, but you try to watch and it's just boring as fuck! (Exception: Women's soccer. Sorry, futbol fans, the stereotype is true, the men are just taking dives the whole game but the women are fucking trying to kill each other out there.) Anyway, I gotta admit, I've starting watching other people play video games on Youtube, and I get the appeal, and I find it entertaining.
I haven't been watching PewDiePie or any of the big gamers or whatever, but I have been watching a lot of Youtubers who play sports games. Part of that is that, while I still think "Fortnite" is just a fancy of saying "two weeks", I do like sports and I've always sports video games. That's not the only reason though; I mean, while the narrative in most video games I don't find as compelling unless I'm playing them, 'cause they're generally first person narratives, sports games, especially some of the more elaborate EA and 2KSports games, they have narratives as well, and they're usually a little more diverse. There's playing as a player of course, and especially for many of these games, there's a franchise mode, where essentially you're playing as a team, which, of course, but it's kind of a combination GM, coach and player mode. In the old days a mode like this might last a season, but with the game now they can last, seemingly infinity it seems, but they're also really elaborate. You can see players starting from when they're being recruited to drafting them, to forming one's own personal franchise...- it's kinda unique to me. I don't know of too many games where you essentially have this much interest and control of fictional people who you suddenly take a real interest in. That's the thing, I don't really care about most characters in other video games. It always amazes me, especially when it's not the main protagonist character that purportedly I, as the player, usually am controlling, that people actually have interest or care about them. To me, they've always just been obstacles to overcome.
Sports games are different. You're goal is to defeat through talent and skill. Still though, I think the appeal of this is the same reason that fans are fascinated by other sports. We like seeing great athletes and following their stories and narratives and not only that the narrative of teams. How they're put together and what that involves. Basically, these are the dynamics that we watch sports for. One of the reason's Tom Brady's mythology is so amazing is that he was a sixth round draft pick that most teams ignored. Creating stories like this is quite a skill.
And the ones I tend to watch aren't just, airing the footage of them playing either. Just watching somebody play a video game, even and especially a sports video game, is still boring. But, taking that footage and expressing and elaborating on the narratives of the players, teams, coaches, franchise, GMs,... in those ways it's quite compelling. It's edited like highlight to tell stories the way sports journalists do. I never did think I'd enjoy watching video games, but there's definitely more than a few Youtubers who have taken this formulaic approach and I often find myself spending days watching old and new series of there's, often waiting anxiously for new episodes.
It's not much, but I gotta admit when I'm wrong. I'm still not certain I'm ever gonna get into e-sports or anything, and all this video game watching does make me more compelled to play a game myself; I came this close the other day to buying an old PC copy of NBA Live 2000 that, for the reason my local library had, and had it on sale. I'm not even certain I'd be able to get it to play come to think about it, but, eh... I'll settle for watching other franchises have their story told as oppose to trying to create a new one for me. I've got my own stories to tell anyway.
CELEBRITIES ON TRIAL, AND NOT FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT OR HARASSMENT EITHER, MOST OF THEM!!! So, yeah, #MeToo?!?!?!?!?
Most of the big Hollywood news in recent months seems to be centered more along the lines of some of the major names having some infamous run-ins with the law. I guess this isn't particularly unusual, I mean, once upon a time, there was a terrible daily news magazine show called "Celebrity Justice" and somehow they filled twenty-two minutes five days a week on this subject. That said, there's been some recent high profile incidents that have really taken the attention away from nearly anything else going on.
There's the college cheating exam that Felicity Huffman and Lori Laughlin got arrested over among dozens of other of the rich and well-off, in a fraud scheme that's horrible and hilarious. There's the whole Jussie Smollett supposed gay bashing that he may or
There's others that I'm probably over-looking or missing. Even the one recent #MeToo-involved issue just broke recently and that was a positive one. Turns out, Geoffrey Rush, not a creep!
We thought he was a creep, turns out, he's not, and he won a civil defamation lawsuit against his accuser, so, you know what, good for him. I'm glad Geoffrey Rush is not a creep. That seems to be the best we can celebrate nowadays, so I'm running with it.
I get there's always been this perverse sense of fascination we have when people who are rich and famous run into trouble from the law, but I gotta admit, it's been awhile since we've seen such a varied and wide array of news and incidents like this awhile. They're all so different too. Like, I feel sorry for Felicity Huffman. She was barely involved in this fraud, and by account every I can read, it seems like she was reluctant the whole way and even seemed regretful of actions. And on some level, I can totally understand, if I had the means and the ability, and I could bend the rules to get someone I loved into college, I'd probably try to do it as well. Meanwhile, Lori Laughlin, seems to have just run full-steam into her actions. She put half a million to get her kids in, faked athletic scholarships, photoshopped her kids into actual photos, and frankly, I mean, I could be wrong, but boy, her one daughter doesn't even seem interested in that education, does she? Just go to a different college, there's no shame in it, you know?
BTW, how weird is it that we all instinctively think of her as "Aunt Becky"? My "Full House" is admittedly a little rusty, but I seem to remember that she didn't start out on the show as an aunt, right? She was a co-host on Dan's show and that's how she met Jesse and they got married, like, the third or fourth season or so, I think? Actually come to think of it, anybody else think it was weird that Dan was a morning TV host, like that was his job? I mean, Joey working on TV, I got, but that seems like a weird job choice? But yeah, she's not even just "Becky", it's "Aunt Becky"? Weird. I mean, I don't refer to any of my aunts as Aunt, and she wasn't even any of the girl's actual aunts! The only other show I can think of that did that was "How I Met Your Mother". (OHHH! That's why he turned into Bob Saget in voiceover!)
Also, she's been around a lot longer than people realize. Like, she was on "The Edge of Night"! Do people even know what that was? That was a long running soap opera that ended before I was born! Although I'm the only one that seems to remember Jussie Smollett and the rest of his family mostly from "On Our Own", which, I'm still amazed nobody's ever called out Tyler Perry's entire career for copying from, but.... (Shrugs) Smollett, ever since he got that role on "Empire" though, did seem to be the kind of guy who loved the spotlight. In a way he did grow up with it and seems to have a keen interest in staying in it, and portraying an image for himself in the media.I don't think that has to do with the fact that he's one of the few major openly gay African-American actors out there, but it probably helps. He's been around forever too, since he was a kid, and now that I think about it, I did see those messages he'd send out earlier about some of the hate mail he was getting and thinking how weird that was. I mean, why him? I know, he's a major actor on a major show, but he's the third lead at best on a series that, frankly I haven't thought of as a relevant series in years. I streamed one season of "Empire" on Hulu, I liked it, I didn't get back to it. (Shrugs) Just seems to me that if somebody was sending hatemail, they might try sending it to Terence Howard or Taraji P. Henson, or even Lee Daniels' first though. Smollett gets a lot of publicity, moreso than I would've thought somebody in his position on a show would've gotten. That's not an accident; he's somebody who actively sought out publicity before this latest strange incident.
I'm not sure why all these things have so suddenly captured our attention or why now they all seem to be happening at once; it reminds me a lot of the mid-'90s tabloid era, when everybody was in trouble. Woody Allen, O.J. Simpson, Tonya Harding!!! We even had a supposed figure skating sabotage incident recently after Mariah Bell might've accidentally hit Korean skater Lin Eun-Soo during a practice before an event. And it's not like some of those names from the mid-90s aren't coming back into the spotlight, so yeah, maybe the stars are aligning again or something and all this stuff starts flooding our mindspace and airwaves, who knows? Let's hope nothing happens in Brentwood anytime soon, make sure my mind-drifting is wrong and all these are just coincidences of timing.
Other than that, I'm not really sure what else to make of all this. Let's sit back, try to empathize as much as we can with everybody involved and see how all this turns out.
ALBUM REVIEW: Edie Brickell & The New Bohemians-"Shooting Rubber Bands at the Stars"
I know it's been awhile, but the last time I did one of these Mixed Bag Blogs, I introduced a new feature where I started reviewing CDs. Which CDs? Whichever ones in my collection that I own, but have never listened to, which is quite a bit, and believe it or not, I actually still add to this list somewhat regularly. I'm the guy that buys CDs from the library still. Call me old-fashioned, but I'm not up on most new music technology or advances, I still like CDs. Anyway, last time, I reviewed Dave Matthews Band's album, "Before These Crowded Street", I liked it quite a bit.
Thought I would do the same a different album. So, back into my CD drawer I go,
(David opens drawer)
and I'm pulling out, the first one, alphabetically, of the title that I keep alphabetically, and-eh, I'm gonna be reviewing. Let's see, Dave Matthew Band was the D's, since it's was a band, and after them, Dido, I've listened to her several times, I've listened to all my Bob Dylan CDs several times over, eh,- have I listened to all my Eagles CDs? I believe so-, yeah, I have. I definitely have, and-eh,... (Pulls out CD) ah! Alright, I'll be review, Edie Brickell & the New Bohemians, and their album, "Shooting Rubber Bands at the Stars" from 1988.
So, before I listen to it for the first time, let me tell you how weird I am. (No pun intended, but cool pun anyway) You would probably guess that this was an album I've had forever, I bet, but actually, I just bought this CD, a few months back. I'm somewhat familiar with Edie Brickell, and I definitely know her big song, "What I Am". She's actually a little before my time frame; obviously she fits in with most of my collection of female-lead rocker CDs, but I don't know much about her. I'm much more of a post-grunge '90s singer-songwriter movement guy, this album was her debut, and I think of other albums I have from around that time, a lot of them are also debut of artists who would do more interesting work later, like Sinead O'Connor, Melissa Etheridge, eh, 'Til Tuesday if you count that as Aimee Mann's debut.That was a little earlier, I tend to this era as the beginning of the end of hair metal, where the early alternative scene like The Pixies, started to break out, and this weird miss-mash of where rock was beginning to head in the alternative rock scene. I guess Brickell is apart of this scene, which was a bit classic rock and a bit alternative folk, but it is a bit hazy for me. It's really before my time, so this one, unlike the last album I reviewed is a bit more of a mystery to me, and I don't quite know what to expect.
She popped up on my radar recently a few years ago when she got a Tony nomination for doing the musical score for "Bright Star". I know she's married to Paul Simon, she's worked with Steve Martin on an album. I know she's pretty eclectic, so I'm expecting anything frankly here. I have fewer expectations or knowledge of this album than I did the last so-eh, we'll see.
And-eh, as always with these, I don't have a music background, I'm not a music critic or expert, this is just for fun, so don't hold me to anything here. Alright, let's put the CD in.
EDIE BRICKELL & THE NEW BOHEMIANS
"Shooting Rubber Bands at the Stars"
Well, I didn't hate this album by any means. I thought it would be a little more eclectic, it kinda was at the end. Mostly I came away from the album thinking that Brickell kinda came around, a little too early. She would've been much bigger in the early-to-mid-'90s, 'cause there's a real wit and irony to her lyrics. I guess that's not totally unexpected, "What I Am" was always essentially a joke song to begin with but there's a sardonic undercurrent to the whole album, and you really hear it in a full. There's a detachness to her wit that's peppered throughout, and a lot of that, I've elsewhere, but I like a lot of it here, especially when their was something. Musically, I was a bit bored in the middle. Although I like most of the songs on the album, musically her most interesting songs often have the least lyrics. I mean, "Keep Coming Back" has like fifteen words of lyrics on repeat, and it doesn't feel that way lyrically until you realize that. That said, I can see why she's never been, like the biggest name out there even on the alternative scene, or continued on the success of "What I Am" as a hitmaker. I think she's more interesting as a songwriter instead of a musician. That said, I liked the album, I'd like to it again, I'm interested in other stuff Edie Brickell puts out, but I think the album's more interesting in concept than to actually listen to. Glad I listened to it, glad I picked it up, but I think she broke too early and probably has more interesting stuff later on that didn't break out and get popular, and I want to hear more of that, if I can find it. This was a cute debut, but yeah, I'm probably never gonna listen to this again. That's sorry for me to say, I do like some of the songs, I might listen to them separately some time, but as an album, um, I thought it was just okay.